Definition of literature review
A literature review provides a general idea of the amount of publication on a certain topic that has been written by credible professors and researchers. The literature review can either be an initial step of a research project, a chapter in a thesis or a stand-alone assignment. A literature review comprises:
- A synopsis of your research topic and precise statement of the objectives of your research
- A thesis of the main ideas and concepts of your topic
- A detailed analysis of the resources you find. For instance, you can point out if the topic you are researching on is not supported by scholars or it is controversial in any way.
Steps on preparing your literature review
Ensure that you understand the topic and the research objective very well. By this, it means you need to know the scope of your literature review.
1. Conduct your research
Conduct a thorough research on the topic; alternatively, you can have sort of a plan. A perfect way of doing this is by looking for significant and all-encompassing sources first and then work on them. For topics about sciences and art, beginning with resources that contain an overview of your research topic is a perfect idea. For technical disciplines such as psychology, find out if there are systematic reviews or meta-analysis on the subject you want to research about. For you to see if your review aligns itself with the other aspects you have read, go through the literature review sections of other sources. Lastly, search for more controversial or most recent research on your topic. This kind of information can be extracted from journal articles.
2. Use an extensive variety of resources
Depending on journal articles and books alone on your research will not be of much assistance. Your prof will provide the details on their expectations; however, while researching, ensure that you do not miss out important research by just using one type of resource.
3. Evaluating the resources
Once you have found the research you will be using, evaluate them. While evaluating, the materials that should be included must provide substantial and reliable information on your topic. Once more, for almost all the literature review, you are not supposed to write about every resource you come across, but only the fundamental discoveries or major assumptions about the topic.
4. Analyze your research
For you to provide a comprehensive account of unknown and known things in your literature review, search for the most important points and common themes about your topic. On top of that, you may mention the areas of controversy in the literature. In a situation where your literature review is supposed to include an argument, utilize enough time to look for evidence so that you can support this argument.
Write your literature review
While writing your literature review, ensure that you are clear on instructions provided in your assignment. Find out what the instructions states, do you prove something or argue. You can organize your literature review in the following ways:
- By methodology
- By theme
- Sequence of importance
- Various perspective
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